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Archive for July, 2014

The Lobster Dance

Interrupting the series again for breaking news:

The Mary Sue merger has me feeling a bit like Obi-Wan today. 

You were the chosen one! Source unknown, but memetastic.

Let me explain.

The Mary Sue, popular geek website for geek women by geek women, merged with Geekosystem, a sister site from Abrams Media. The merger was a decision from the top, and it’s been handled unbelievably poorly by everyone involved. I had seen the notices that it was going to happen but didn’t have time to check things out until toranosukev from Nubui Kuduchi showed me this.

About What Exactly?

Regarding the merger, an announcement like the following would have been the best call:

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Joe Quesada announced that the new Captain America is Sam Wilson.  Since we called Bucky “Bucky Cap,” might I suggest “Captain SAmerica” for Sam’s nickname?

I hope this new incarnation of Cap gets a better writer.

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❝ Two days ago a report hit the web stating that The Fantastic Four “won’t be based on any history of anything already published.” This was a quote translated from Esquire LatinoAmerica and said by Sue Storm / Invisible Woman actor Kate Mara.

Seems like Mara either made a mistake and said something wrong, or something she said didn’t translate properly. Either way, fans of Marvel’s first family immediately took to social media and began complaining about the reboot. ❞

Read the full article here at Daily Superhero.

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The Golden Bullet

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Biblical epics are big business for Hollywood.  They always have been.  When you adjust the figures for inflation, two of the top 15 highest grossing films of all time are THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and BEN-HUR   To the tune of $1.8 billion domestically, if we’re being specific.  That is why it’s no surprise to see 2014 bringing about a bevy of Biblical fanfare on both the big screen and television.  Two of the highest profile titles this year are Darren Aronofsky’s NOAH and Ridley Scott’s upcoming EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS , the latter of which just had a new trailer released.

Though those two movies may not have the cultural impact that the aforementioned classics did, they do shine a spotlight once again on how Hollywood continues its old habits of re-imagining humankind’s earliest epics in a way that is…well, for lack of a better word…whitewashed.  Literally.  Neither Noah…

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The Golden Bullet

thor woman marvel 660 Marvel

In what is undoubtedly the sign of the times, Marvel Comics announced yesterday on THE VIEW that the iconic hammer-wielding son of Odin will now be female.  And as the below tweet from Ryan Penagos states, this won’t be a She-Hulk type of thing.

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Call it political correctness, call it keeping up with the changing demographics and the recognition of an ever shrinking world – call it whatever you want – but let’s ultimately call it what it really is: Good storytelling.  Both in the pages and out of it.  Here’s why.

In the Pages

Simply put, women make better heroes.  They are far more compelling, complex, emotional, and three dimensional.  They are also frequently underestimated, shunned by male dominated societies and organizations, and usually seen as weak.  This makes for a near perfect protagonist.  You want your hero to be someone the reader and audience can identify with…

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I have never been terribly interested in Thor as a title.  It just isn’t my sort of genre.  But today Marvel announced the next worthy person to wield Mjolnir will be a woman and it caught my attention.   My Dad’s a longtime Thor fan and I’m sure he’ll have some huffing and puffing to do (just like he did when Bucky picked up the mantle of Captain America).  I get it.  Change is tough for fans who’ve read and loved a character for years.  It’s hard to see the characters you’ve grown attached to get shunted off to the side (my heart goes out to fans who love secondary characters).

Obviously, this is something Marvel’s had in the pipeline for a while.  I saw some comments on Twitter and Tumblr accusing Marvel of offering platitudes to female readers.  And of course there’s the deluge of male protest on Twitter and in the comments section on the above linked Marvel announcement (she’s already being called “Whor”).  The timing is certainly suspect on the heels of the #FireRickRemender controversy.  Reactions to the news run the gamut from excitement to wariness to calls to boycott the title and / or Marvel.

Writer Jason Aaron told Time:

If you’re a long-time Thor fan you know there’s kind of a tradition from time to time of somebody else picking up that hammer. Beta Ray Bill was a horse-faced alien guy who picked up the hammer. At one point Thor was a frog. So I think if we can accept Thor as a frog and a horse-faced alien, we should be able to accept a woman being able to pick up that hammer and wield it for a while, which surprisingly we’ve never really seen before.

This indicates Thor isn’t a person, per se, but a sort of power that can various people can possess “if they be worthy.”  Marvel has shown us several worthy characters who’ve picked up Thor’s hammer:  Beta Ray Bill, Storm, Captain America.  It isn’t so hard to imagine that some new person, a woman this time, can pick up the hammer and thus embody the power of Thor.  On its face, this isn’t a simple switching of anatomy.  It’s a new person having the power passed on to her.  (As I said, I’m not any sort of authority on Thor and these are all things I’ve discovered via some quick Google research.)

Wired posted a great article on why this new Thor is important (spoiler: it isn’t the lack of a penis and presence of a vagina).  The article speculates that the choice to take this route with Thor is due to the character’s visibility thanks to his appearance in three films in the MCU.  Perhaps it’s that sort of visibility that’s making now the right time for Sam Wilson to take up Cap’s shield.

Visibility is important.  Representation is important.  It’s why characters like T’Challa, Sam Wilson, Storm, Miles Morales, America Chavez, and Kamala Khan are so important.  It’s why female-led titles are so important.  I’m excited about Storm getting her own title and joining the ranks of Black Widow, Elektra, Captain Marvel, and Ms. Marvel in my pull-list.  But all the outcry from male readers who can’t imagine their favourite hero without genitalia that matches their own makes me wonder how much male readership those female-let titles have.  And then, at the end of the day, there’s the mean-spirited part of me that wants to laugh at them, to remind them that there are plenty of other titles they can read if it’s just oh-so-hard for them to take Thor seriously when she lacks a penis.  Oops.

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❝ Comics has an outrage problem.

I don’t mean people getting up in arms over things, either. That’s an issue unto itself, and like anything else, it could be better than it currently is in several different ways, but that’s not today’s conversation.

What I’m talking about is how we—the comics community—describe, talk about, and address the concerns of people who are upset about one thing or another. The way we talk about outrage fatigue, outrage-of-the-week, faux outrage, outrage-o-matic, misplaced outrage, another outrage, this outrage, that outrage, and why it’s gross and short-sighted. How we use “tumblr” as a pejorative but ignore the poison in our own forums and followers.

The way we use the word outrage suggests that the outrage in question is fake and irrational, on account of being poorly thought-out and overly emotional. It happens every time someone brings up a point to do with equality, sexism, racism, or justice. It’s the same tactic the music media uses to devalue Kanye’s rants. They’re invalid, an inconvenience, annoying, or fake because you can see the emotions driving it, and emotional reactions aren’t valid.

We use the presence of passion to first diminish and then dismiss arguments. The offended must play by the rules of the unoffended, or even worse, the offenders, in order to be heard. You have to tamp down that pain if you want to get help or fix it. You can see it when people say things like “Thank you for being civil” when arguing something heated with someone they disagree with. Civility is great, sure, but we’re forcing people who feel like they’re under attack to meet us on our own terms. In reality, passion shouldn’t be dismissed. Passion has a purpose. ❞

Read the rest of David Brothers’ Beyond Outrage on his blog.

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